What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is field of healthcare focusing on the health and function of the musculoskeletal system. It offers natural, conservative, hands-on treatment for conditions of the spine, extremity joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments, and is a drug and surgery free approach to health. The identity of chiropractic originated in 1895 with the first documented manipulation of the spine by founder DD Palmer in the USA, when the first official manipulation/adjustment was given. Spinal Manipulative Therapy remains a cornerstone of the profession today, alongside complementary therapies to provide the most effective and comprehensive treatment of musculoskeletal conditions.
A traditional chiropractor’s main concern is your spine and its correct functioning while modern chiropractic includes the joints of the arms and legs. A comprehensive and evidence-based approach to treating the joints will include therapies directed at the soft tissue structures that surround all joints and bones, namely the muscles, tendons and ligaments. Mobility and integrity of all of these structures is important to allow for normal function and movement and a chiropractor is trained to assess and identify abnormal biomechanics and correct them in order to improve function, enhance performance and alleviate pain.
In South Africa chiropractors complete a 6 year Master’s degree at either Durban University of Technology or the University of Johannesburg. This is a high intensity qualification that includes many hours of anatomy, physiology, pathology and diagnostics, as well as extensive practical learning and experience. The extensive diagnostics covered in the qualification is the reason for chiropractors receiving the title of Dr. Chiropractors in South Africa are considered primary healthcare providers and as such no referral is necessary to see one. Chiropractic care is also covered by most major medical aid and IOD funds.
Evidence-informed chiropractic care seeks to follow scientific research guidelines to provide safe and cost-effective treatment and management of a wide variety of conditions affecting joints, muscles and nerves. Manipulation is used to improve and enhance joint movement, massage, stretch and dry needling help to release spastic muscle and enhance tissue repair, prescribed exercise helps to improve strength and stability, and other specialized treatments such as Shockwave Therapy initiate and accelerate healing and regeneration.
Chiropractic care aims to be holistic and pre-emptive by considering the mechanics of the body as a whole and aiming to maintain optimal function in order to prevent pain or injury. Many chronic conditions and sources of pain may require proactive maintenance care in order to avoid recurrence of symptoms due to the stresses of daily activities. In these instances regular, scheduled visits may help to keep you moving better and with less pain.